Friday, February 26, 2010

MLB 2K10 and MLB 10:The Show gameplay videos

With both MLB 2K10 (Xbox 360 and PS3) and MLB 10: The Show (PS3) hitting store shelves Tuesday, March 2, here's a look at gameplay videos from each game. The 2K10 video features the Yankees v. Phillies, with the computer controlling both teams.

This gameplay video of MLB 10: The Show is a Twins-Tigers matchup and comes from 1UP.

It's hard to make an accurate judgment on the graphics because the video of MLB 2K10 was filmed off an LCD screen while the MLB 10 clip was recorded directly from the game, but The Show does look a little better.

Having suffered through the last two years of pathetic 2K offerings on the Xbox 360, I'm very excited to finally be able to play The Show on PS3 this year.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Dropping Links: Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I've said it before and I'll say it again; My apologies for not "posting and toasting" as frequently as I was, say, last summer. But I'm still here, presence shrinking, giving you some great links from around the web as your snack before bed, or for your morning settle-in at work on Thursday.

- As is the case early in spring training when there isn't much to write about, the media is making mountains out of molehills in regards to Derek Jeter's contract situation with the Yankees. In case you've been living under a rock, he's in the last year of his deal and the Yankees don't negotiate extension before contracts are up. Jeter doesn't care and knows that's the policy, and everyone in the world expects him to continue his career with New York, but the pundits (and many bloggers) continue to expound on the issue.

- Captain Janks of the Howard Stern Show was back on his pranking grind last night on SportsCenter, masquerading as Brian Westbrook during a live interview with ESPN's Scott Van Pelt. Someone got fired after that one, I would suspect.

- PastaPadre has some impressions up from the MLB 2K10 demo for Xbox 360. He thinks it's an improvement over last year's putrid effort, but still has its issues.

- The Scores Report breaks down the Wizards recent mini-stretch of success following their fire sale.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Dropping Links: Friday, February 19, 2010

It's the last day of the work week and I'm sure many of you will be looking to kill some time as you hide in your office or at your cubicle for the bulk of the day. While you're doing that, here are some links from around the web to keep you occupied.

Oh, and Tiger Woods will be holding a press conference today. Yawn.

- The Syracuse Orange(men) fought off a big Georgetown rally in DC last night to top the Hoyas. Andy Rautins dropped a season-high 26 points for 'Cuse, who improves to 25-2 on the season.

- The team rankings for MLB 10: The Show have been released. As you would expect, the World Champion New York Yankees are ranked first overall. The Red Sox, Phillies, Dodgers and Rays round out the top five.

- Bob's Blitz brings us video of Sven Kramer, an Olympic gold medalist, giving it to a reporter after she asks him what his name is and what sport he just competed in. Kramer's reply is great. "What are you, stupid?"

- With the NBA's trading deadline now behind us, Ken Berger recaps the winners and losers. Berger thinks, like many in the media and even some of the Celtics' players, that the Nate Robinson acquisition was a little unnecessary.

(Photo courtesy AP)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Recapping the 2010 NBA Trade Deadline

- Tracy McGrady finally ended up with the Knicks after a three-team trade sent T-Mac and Sergio Rodriguez to New York. The Kings received Carl Landry and Joey Dorsey from Houston and Larry Hughes from the Knicks, while the Rockets brought back Kevin Martin and Hilton Armstrong from Sacramento and Jordan Hill and Jared Jeffries from New York. The Rockets can also swap 2011 first-round draft picks with the Knicks and will get New York's 2012 first-rounder.

The Knicks gave up a lot but also cleared $9 million off their 2010-2011 cap number, allowing them to pursue two "max" free agent contracts in the offseason. The Rockets made out pretty well, bringing in a scorer in Martin and a young forward in Hill.

- New York also dealt Nate Robinson to the Celtics for JR Giddens, Bill Walker and Eddie House. Robinson will provide some nice bench scoring for Boston and should also play much better than he did in New York with the veteran presence of Kevin Garnett keeping him from making a lot of the silly mistakes he did with the Knicks.

- Tyrus Thomas was finally dealt from Chicago but ended up in Charlotte, a place many hadn't expected until early Thursday morning. That's a nice move for the Bobcats, provided Thomas stays in line, and it gives the team a very athletic squad.

- John Salmons ended up in Milwaukee, with Chicago clearing some cap space for the Summer of 2010 free agent bonanza. The Bulls are certainly shooting for Dwyane Wade, a Chicago guy who might be unhappy with Miami after they couldn't get him any help at the deadline.

- The Heat were rumored to be in on Carlos Boozer, but couldn't pull the trigger on a deal.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Knicks and Rockets reignite Tracy McGrady trade talk

The Knicks and Rockets have re-opened talks involving Tracy McGrady, according to reports. The original rumored trade would have been a three-way deal including the Wizards but, after trading Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood last weekend, Washington is no longer in the picture.

Now the deal is apparently a two-team deal, where the Knicks would send either Jordan Hill, Jared Jeffries, one of either Larry Hughes or Al Harrington, and their 2012 first-round pick to Houston in exchange for McGrady, Joey Dorsey and Brian Cook. The teams would also swap 2011 first-round picks.

While giving up Hill, a rookie who has had little time on the court to prove himself, would be a tough decision, it is made easier by the ability to shed Jeffries’ contract for 2010-2011. Doing so would free up an additional $9 million in cap space, allowing the Knicks to offer max contracts to two players this offseason. As you can’t possibly be unaware, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Joe Johnson, Chris Bosh and more will all potentially be up for grabs this summer.

Also, if the Knicks were able to sign Bosh and keep David Lee, there would be less of a need for Hill and much less available court time for him to develop. That certainly is putting all the eggs in one basket but that has been New York’s strategy ever since Donnie Walsh came on board.

There is some thought around the league, though, that the Knicks will wait until after the trade deadline and sign McGrady if he and the Rockets agree to a buyout. With the ultimate goal to free up salary cap space, that seems like a curious move. But the fact of the matter is that Knicks owner James Dolan also wants to sell tickets. With a team that is well below .500 the only way to do that may be to bring in a big name like McGrady.

Donnie Walsh should be pushing hard for this trade, though, for obvious reasons. If any team is willing to take Jared Jeffries’ contract back, it’s almost a no-brainer. As for giving up more draft picks, the Knicks are hoping that pick in 2012 won’t be a very high one anyway, if they are able to sign the free agents they covet.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Dropping Links: Monday, February 15, 2010

Here are the best links from around the web on this Monday night, or for your enjoyment as you settle into work on Tuesday.

- Kurt Warner will be returning to Madden 10 after the most recent roster update removed the Cardinals' former quarterback and a few other recently retired players. There were some complaints from gamers that Warner should be kept in and they got what they wanted.

- Ken Berger fills us in on some NBA trade deadline gossip involving Tracy McGrady, Amar'e Stoudemire, Antawn Jamison and Tyrus Thomas. The deadline is Thursday.

- The Dwight Howard - Shaq "Superman" beef is really pretty stupid but in case you're wondering, Howard says there are no hard feelings with the Diesel.

- For the wrestling fans out there, TNA Impact! will be moving to Monday nights beginning March 8 to try to renew the "Monday Night Wars" of the late 1990's. TNA is really giving it their all with this one, signing almost every late 1990's WCW wrestler they can.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Dropping Links: St. Valentine's Day edition

Here are some links from around the web on this Valentine's Day.

- Caron Butler is headed to Dallas in a seven-player deal that will net the Wizards Josh Howard. The Mavs will also receive Brendan Haywood and DeShawn Stevenson, as well as cash considerations. The Wizards, in what must be the beginning of their fire sale, will also get Drew Gooden, Quinton Ross and James Singleton.

- Speaking of NBA trades, the Cavs are working with the Suns on a deal to bring Amare Stoudemire to Cleveland.

- Nate Robinson won the snoozefest that was the 2010 NBA Slam Dunk Contest, making him the first three-time winner in history.

- Danica Patrick had a spectacular debut in the Nationwide Series yesterday as she was involved in a 12-car crash.

Video: Steve Nash continues his strong case for funniest pro athlete

In his latest effort for Vitamin Water, Steve Nash shines again, parodying the Dos Equis "Most Interesting Man in the World" commercials. In this one, Nash shows why he is "The Most Ridiculous Man in the World."

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Tyreke Evans is latest example of inferiority of Knicks rookies

In case you weren’t sure, the Knicks are, in fact, terrible once again this season. Coach Mike D’Antoni is throwing out lineups like they were lottery numbers, using different players every night. He benched Nate Robinson for a month before finally giving him some playing time, then exiled Larry Hughes. Then Hughes was back in the rotation with Robinson declared the starting point guard… for one game.

D’Antoni has been trying to keep his team in the playoff race but, with the Knicks now 13 games under .500, it’s time to throw in the towel. The infamous Summer of 2010 is almost upon us and Donnie Walsh and Co. have been preparing for two years for this crop of free agents.

Rookies Toney Douglas and Jordan Hill should get a lot of playing time so the coaching staff can see what the two youngsters are made of. Unfortunately, though, it doesn’t look like they’ll be integral pieces in the future of the Knickerbockers.

DeMar DeRozan, Brandon Jennings, Gerald Henderson, Tyreke Evans’ teammate Omri Casspi and Jonas Jerebko were all drafted after the Knicks took Hill at the number eight spot and all have been more productive for their teams. Jerebko was even taken after Toney Douglas, the Knicks’ second round pick, was selected.

Many people questioned the selection of Hill at no. 8 overall and it looks like they may have been right. Granted, all of the other rookies I’ve listed have had more playing opportunities than Hill but what does it say about the rookie when he can’t grab court time ahead of Jonathan Bender?

Evans was drafted at the four spot, so the Knicks aren’t to blame for passing on him. But it certainly doesn’t look good when you’re in a rebuilding mode and only three players on the team will be in the rotation next season.

The Kings got a very good player in Evans and, in a twist of the knife for Knicks fans, will get another young stud in the 2010 Draft, since they have New York’s first round pick.

(Photo from fOTOGLIF)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

For some reason, the NFL Network wants Chris Berman

This makes absolutely no sense to me. Maybe I’m alone here but I think Chris Berman is undoubtedly the worst television broadcaster there is. His references are ridiculously outdated, his nickname shtick wore out its welcome years ago, and his babbling speak and silly sound effects are annoying. I always thought he was only an ESPN favorite, like their other personality who is annoying and says nothing that makes sense, Dick Vitale.

Apparently, though, people actually tune in to hear and see Chris Berman, or at least that’s what the executives at the NFL Network believe.

According to The Big Lead, the NFL Network is “heavily pursuing” the short-winded one. Other reports indicate that DirecTV is also interested in Berman for its Red Zone Channel.

I get that Berman is a big name that many people associate with football but Rich Eisen is far-and-away a better studio host than Boomer. The NFL Network’s coverage is all about the NFL but if Berman were to come on board, it would be all about him, which ESPN is famous for. They’ve always been about their broadcasters and on-air personalities instead of the actual competition they are showcasing.

The main reason there is a link between the NFL Network and Berman is because of the network's president, Steve Bornstein, who has known Berman for 30 years, dating back to the duo's days at "the Worldwide Leader."

I think it’s a dumb move by NFL Network and even more so for DirecTV. The amount of money it would take to lure Berman away from ESPN would be enormous and almost certainly wouldn’t be worth it.

There are many people, myself included, who turn away from ESPN’s coverage simply because they can’t stand Chris Berman. The NFL Network, already struggling to pull in viewers because of availability issues, can’t afford to have that happen and risk losing the diehard fans that keep it going.

(Image courtesy The Sports Hernia)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Dropping Links: Monday, February 8, 2010

On this Monday night, the night after the Super Bowl, let's surf around the web and find some linkage for you to read before you settle into bed or as you gather yourself at the office on Tuesday morning.

- Club Seat Sports has the top five commercials from Super Bowl XLIV. I thought the commercials were pretty average, for the most part, but a few stood out. The number one choice on Luca's list was my personal favorite.

- Speaking of Super Bowl commercials, our pal Bob Mantz has a look at Megan Fox's stunt thumb she apparently used during her cell phone ad.

- The Scores Report fills us in on some possible NBA trade scenarios as we approach the deadline. Caron Butler is likely headed to either Dallas or Houston.

- Tiger Woods' return date to the PGA Tour changes by the day but now is apparently sometime in March. No Guts, No Glory has the info.

- A Sports Scribe defends the choice to keep Cris Carter out of the Hall of Fame for the third consecutive year. While I think Carter will eventually get in and deserves to, it's hard to argue against who has gone in ahead of him so far.

- PastaPadre has the news that EA Sports is ready to cancel their NCAA Basketball franchise. This isn't sad news for most, as the game has been seriously lacking in recent years.

- We missed this one last week, but the Hall of Very Good has an interview with the Batting Stance Guy as we approach spring training.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Madden franchise coming to Facebook

Farmville and Mafia Wars won't be the only annoying posts filling up your Facebook News Feed soon, as the makers of the Madden franchise plan to develop a game for the social networking giant.

There aren't a lot of details available but EA Sports president Peter Moore said Friday that the Facebook version of the game will be much simpler than the console version. Obviously many browsers couldn't support a graphically intense version of the game such as you can play on PS3 or Xbox, but the Facebook version could be very similar to the current iPhone version of the game.

Facebook recently boasted about its 400 millionth user and clearly provides a huge network of potential gamers and, more importantly, a large audience for advertisers to reach. If this year's Madden is any indication, the Facebook game will be very advertisement-heavy.

Super Bowl XLIV Preview: Saints v. Colts

After two weeks of incessant hype, non-stop talk about who Archie Manning will root for, and endless Dwight Freeney ankle talk, the Super Bowl is finally upon us. The game kicks off at 6:25pm ET on CBS, with hours of pregame on NFL Network, ESPN and CBS from basically the moment you wake up. I'm currently 7-3 with my 2010 NFL Playoff picks, so let's get into the game breakdown and my prognostication.

Super Bowl XLIV: Saints v. Colts, Sun Life Stadium, 6:25pm ET, CBS
Jim Nantz and Phil Simms in the booth

Without a doubt you know all the storylines coming into this game. Peyton Manning's dad played for the Saints. Peyton grew up in New Orleans. A Saints win would be great for the city of New Orleans (emotionally, of course, not financially) four years after Hurricane Katrina. Dwight Freeney has torn ligaments in his ankle. It goes on and on and on.

The only one of those points that will matter once the two teams take the field on Sunday, though, will be Freeney's ankle. It's almost not even a matter of if he plays or not, rather will he be effective while playing or just hurt his team by trying to go out there?

From all accounts, this looks like it will be an offensive shootout. Usually when that's what everyone thinks it turns into a defensive struggle, but I just don't see that happening with these two teams, both so similar in their makeup.

The Colts and Saints both have great quarterbacks, good receivers and really nothing spectacular in the running game. Reggie Bush has become what everything thought he would be, albeit for just these last few games. When it comes down to it, it will be a contest through the air.

Having said that, I think it's advantage Peyton and Company. Manning is perhaps the best quarterback of this or any generation. He has three MVP's and one Super Bowl title. While Brees is no slouch, Manning has continued to do it with an ever-changing cast. What has made the Saints' defense effective this year is forcing turnovers, something that won't be very easy with Peyton Manning on the other side of the line of scrimmage. They can rush, blitz, stunt, or do anything else they can think of but Manning will likely have an answer.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think this will be a one-sided contest. The Saints will get their punches in but when it comes down to crunch time, Peyton Manning will step up and lead his Colts to a second Super Bowl title in four years.

Prediction: Colts 34, Saints 27

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Gilbert Arenas takes his best shot but gun apology misses the target

Gilbert Arenas wrote an op-ed piece for The Washington Post apologizing for his actions regarding the now infamous gun situation and pledging that he will learn from his mistakes and help others. He also vows to become a better role model.

While the sentiment is nice, it doesn’t hide the fact that Arenas is only writing this well after he has been punished, after joking about the situation and making gun gestures during pregame warm-ups, after there was no way to wiggle out of it, and before he possibly serves jail time.

Arenas takes blame for his actions, but also skirts around the fact that he really didn’t think what he did was a big deal, saying, “I reacted badly to the aftermath and made fun of inaccurate media reports, which looked as though I was making light of a serious situation.” It’s the typical “blame the media” approach.

You have to give Gilbert credit, though, for doing far more than most other athletes who have apologized publicly for mistakes they’ve made.

That’s not saying much, but it’s still worth something.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Dropping Links: Monday, February 1, 2010

As we wrap up the beginning of the work week, here are some links from around the web to check out tonight or Tuesday morning as you settle in at work.

- Our blog pal Bob Mantz is back with more on the Newsday situation, involving layoffs, lack of online subscribers and union messes. Full diclosure: Bob Glauber, the paper's lead NFL writer, has been great to me and the blog, so I'm hoping everything works out well for him and the rest of the staff of Long Island's daily.

- Mike Martz has been hired as the Bears' offensive coordinator, after weeks of searching. Anthony Stalter at The Scores Report debates whether or not Martz is a good fit considering Chicago's personnel.

- PastaPadre has some more exclusive MLB 10: The Show screenshots.

- Club Seat Sports has a look back at Kurt Warner's career, following Friday's news of his retirement.

- In case you haven't checked it out, the guys at Ringside Rants are back at it after a long hiatus with their 2010 WWE Royal Rumble recap and thoughts.

World Cup 2010, Volume 3: The Group of “Life” - Group A

Our old friend and Senior Soccer Analyst Josh Garcia is back with the third of his continuing series examining the 2010 World Cup.

There have been six World Cup champions that have been able to win the prestigious event in their own country. South Africa will try to be the 7th country to do so. I’ll tell you why they have a chance because they are in an open group, “The Group of Life” where any team can move on.

You can certainly say that about any group, but usually there are favorites and powerhouses like Brazil, Germany, Italy standing in your way. This group has 4 teams that can move on and they might be the weakest group on paper. Group A is wide open to advance. Ironically joining South Africa are two teams that have won the World Cup in their home country. The first team to do it was Uruguay who won the first ever World Cup on their home soil. France was the last team to celebrate a World Cup title in front of their countryman when they did so in 1998. Mexico rounds out the group.

For those skeptics out there that ask what about France? I think Mexico, Uruguay or South Africa can beat “Les Bleus”. In my opinion France doesn’t even belong in the tournament. (Due to Henry’s blatant hand-ball that gave them a win over Ireland) France struggled to qualify and it was not pretty. I know the Official didn’t see the handball but thats a huge mistake and I feel for the Irish fans. That being said they are a very talented team and will not be an easy out. The stars to watch for are Franck Ribery who is their midfield playmaker and Nicolas Anelka who is as dangerous a striker as there is in the tournament. Henry, their captain is in the latter part of his career and will hopefully have a better showing than France’s last Captain.

Mexico has the most World Cup appearances in the group, 13, and find themselves refocused while playing some of their best soccer in the past 10 years. The Mexicans are led by veterans, Cuauhtemoc Blanco (36) and Rafael Marquez (31). One “star” in my book that will hopefully emerge from play being a household name is Giovani dos Santos who will most likely play on the right side and hopefully showcase his brilliant playmaking and blazing speed.

There is no smaller country (3 million) with a richer soccer history than Uruguay. They have had one of the more exciting runs through qualification earning a “play-off” with Costa Rica for one of the last spots in the tournament. If Uruguay makes it past the group stage, it will be the farthest they have progressed in thirty years. The Uruguayans are strong up top with Atletico Madrid’s Diego Forlan as their leading scorer. Forlan scored 7 goals on the way to South Africa and will be their most targeted player (defended by the other team) which is a reason you should keep your eye on Luis Suarez, an emerging star.

South Africa is a difficult team to write anything on because I didn’t get to see them in qualifying because as host, they are automatically in the tournament. Apart from seeing them in last year’s warm up cup (FIFA Confederations Cup) against Brazil and Spain, I haven’t see much from them. They lost both games but played well above expectations. You can never count out a country’s pride. South Africa may be the weakest team in the tournament based on rank. They have the biggest advantage being able to play in front of a country that has advanced more than any other country in the last 20 years, socially and economically.

We are are little more than 130 days away from the biggest party ever held in South Africa.